628 Down 511 To Go
39 Miles hiked in 3 Days
Day 1 9/10/2018
Hiking again! After a summer of mostly work, and no hiking since mid-June It is Monday morning and I am headed north for 3 days. Would have preferred to leave Sunday and get settled so Monday wasn’t so tight on time but it was the Packers first game of the season, and was glad I stayed home to watch Green Bay beat Chicago 24 – 23 in dramatic fashion. Go Pack.
Mondays hike would be from Birchwood, WI to Stout Rd a gravel road in the middle of nowhere. Got to Stout Rd at 10:45 need to unload the motorcycle and head to Birchwood to hike south back to my truck. I need to get moving. I am planning on about a 6 hour hike starting at 11:30 that gets me done at 5:30 sunset is 7:30 don’t want to push the daylight in such a remote area. Started south with a short road section then into the woods for the Hemlock Creek section and the northern half of the Northern Blue Hills Segment. Pretty uneventful similar woods and topography of segments I have already done. Saw plenty of deer, bear tracks, cranes, occasional beaver dam, another pair of the many Trumpeter Swans I have seen this year and lots and lots of frogs, of all different sizes and colors. I am guessing it was due to the heavy rains and warm temperatures they had over the past few weeks.
The woods were beginning to show the signs of early fall. Some limited color in the trees, a few leaves already down, ground cover starting to slump and weaken its grip on the forest floor. Occasional acorns falling, paling in comparison to the bombardment I experienced later in the fall cycle last year.
Total miles for the day 15.5 and 5 Hours 55 Min right on my estimate back to my truck at 5:30 with 2 hours of light to spare. Feel pretty good overall for not hiking in almost 2 months.
Day 2 9/11/2018 Patriots Day
I’m sore. Nearly 2 months of no trail hiking and then a 15.5 mile day mostly in the woods whopped my 54 year old butt. The plan for today is to start (slowly) where I left off last evening heading south finishing the southern half of the Northern Hills segment then a mile and a half road walk connecting to the Southern Blue Hills Segment ending up a few miles west of Weyerhaeuser, WI. Should be about a 13 mile day. Another beautiful day sunny with a high temperature forecast of 80 can’t complain for early September.
Finished the Northern Blue Hills segment overall a pretty well maintained trail for some of the more remote areas of the Ice Age Trail. My new hiking shoes (I normally wear boots) seem to be working well. I seem to be a magnet for every rock and stick on the trail to get in my shoes. So I am trying out some new gaiters, designed to keep rock and debris out of your shoes. I am using Dirty Girl Gaiters known for their crazy patterns. The ones I am wearing in this picture are definitely on the tame side of their patterns.
I ask a hunter and he estimated the bear that made that track was 300 – 400 lbs.
The Southern Blue Hills Segment started on a logging road then into the woods heading south. I’m starting to get tired and I have about 6 more miles to go. Now the trail is getting harder and I’m getting more tired with 5 more miles to go. The trail became more overgrown, rocky, muddy, Rooty and hilly and I’m tired. 3 more miles to go and the trail improves and I’m still tired. No doubt I will make it just tired from being out of shape from not hiking, a long day yesterday, and a hard trail today. I stop to take a break and eat one of my homemade energy bars – it doesn’t work… I’m still tired. A couple of miles left and I’m ready to be done. I’m Done! 13.3 hard miles. I’m still tired.
Probably as tired as I have ever been after a hike. I think I need to work less and hike more!
Day 3 9/12/2018
Up early and ready to roll. Today’s section is a road walk 21.3 miles to the next trail section the Chippewa Moraine Segment west of Cornell, WI. Hope to do about half that distance. Overall don’t feel to bad considering how tired I was yesterday, calves seem awfully tight, should loosen up on today’s easy road section. Parked at the Potato Creek State Wildlife Area and rode motorcycle to where I left off yesterday.
Started right at sunrise walking directly toward it not a bad show. The clouds burned off quickly as I walked through Weyerhaeuser and turned south into a nice breeze for the rest of my walk. Pretty typical road section, nice countryside, light traffic and a easy day! I ran across this sign on a telephone pole south of Weyerhaeuser . Maybe that is one of the reasons I like to hike?
Ended the day right at 10 miles.
I have 148 miles continuous completed from the western terminus at St Croix Falls to where I stopped on day 3 at the Potato Creek State Wildlife Area. I have a week of vacation coming up. I plan to skip ahead to the 45 miles of trail that goes directly through the Chequamegon National Forest near Medford, WI. I am planning to use the prime fall weather on as much trail miles as I can and do the road sections at a less prime time.
That’s it for now. Hope to have more in a few weeks. Andy